Langley’s Charlene Crawford (left) stars in Gallery 7’s Enchanted April, along side Laura Kehler.

Langley’s Charlene Crawford (left) stars in Gallery 7’s Enchanted April, along side Laura Kehler.

Langley actor plays an English housewives bound for Italy

A pair of Langley actors play husband and wife.

Walnut Grove’s Charlene Crawford is no stranger to the Gallery 7 stage.

And the 33-year-old actress is back in the spotlight again in the Abbotsford theatre company’s latest production, Enchanted April, which opened last weekend.

Crawford plays Lotty Wilson, an English housewife who is the driving force behind planning an Italian adventure for four women back in the year 1922.

Crawford first studied theatre at Walnut Grove Secondary and later at Trinity Western University, while obtaining her bachelor of arts in theatre.

She’s been in a number of Gallery 7 productions through the years, and this time out is joined by fellow Langleyite Scott Campbell. He’s playing Mellersh, Lotty’s somewhat stuffy hubby.

Gallery 7 Theatre wraps up the season with Elizabeth von Arnim’s Enchanted April – adapted by Matthew Barber – which speaks of two frustrated English housewives decide to rent a villa in Italy to escape their bleak, predictable lives and recruit two very different English women to share in the cost and experience.

Among the wisteria blossoms and gorgeous Mediterranean sunshine, all four begin to re-discover themselves in ways they didn’t expect, and gain new perspective on what’s most important in their lives.

Kate Muchmore Woo, a theatre professor at Langley’s Trinity Western University is directing for the first time at Gallery 7 Theatre.

“The themes, which resonate with me most in the show, are healing and transformation,” she said.

“After WWI, there was a real sense of loss across Europe. These losses, direct and indirect, threaten to steal the hope of many of the characters in the play. Going to Italy offers everyone a chance for healing, for transformation, and for their lives to be filled again with enchantment, paradise, and wonder. Marvelous.”

In addition to Crawford anad Campbell’s roles in this show, Gallery 7 newcomer Laura Kehler is playing Rose Arnott, a proper English housewife with strong morals – but who secretly longs for adventure.

Shannon Tauber is tackling the role of Caroline Bramble, a sophisticated socialite looking for change in her life, while Sue Backs plays the crotchety Mrs. Graves.

Tamara Charman takes on the role of Costanza, an Italian housekeeper with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. Marco Darvasi play Wilding, the charming owner of the Italian villa, and Mark Kroeker plays Rose’s man-about-town husband, Frederick.

“I love how different these women are and the hilarious conflicts that come up as they attempt to co-exist,” Woo said.

“Beyond that, I love the friendships that inevitably develop as they open up to each other, share their hearts, and find healing in community. Then the men show up, and even more funniness, healing, and transformation occur, leaving everyone with a sense of hope for the future.”

Set design for Enchanted April is by Shelby Wyminga, costume design is by Jina Chatterton, lighting design is by Gabe Kirkley, sound design is by Eli Funk, and make-up design is by Victoria Hu.

The stage manager is Danielle Milette and production photography is by Dianna Lewis Photography.

“Audiences should come because [the play] is funny, poignant, and celebrates the indomitable spirit of women,” concluded Woo.

The show still plays May 24 to 27, with shows at 7:30 p.m., as well as an additional matinee on Saturday, May 27, at 2 p.m. at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium. Tickets: gallery7theatre.com.